Amusement Park Ride: Ups and Downs in Design

Type of Resource



From TeachEngineering - Students design, build and test model roller coasters using foam tubing, toothpicks and masking tape. As if they are engineers, teams compete to create the winning design based on costs and aesthetics. Guided by three worksheets, students prototype, test, evaluate and finalize their ideas, all while integrating energy concepts. The goal is to understand the basics of engineering design associated with kinetic and potential energy to create optimal roller coasters. The mar

Performance Expectations

MS-PS3-2   Develop a model to describe that when the arrangement of objects interacting at a distance changes, different amounts of potential energy are stored in the system.

MS-PS3-5   Construct, use, and present arguments to support the claim that when the kinetic energy of an object changes, energy is transferred to or from the object.

MS-ETS1-1   Define the criteria and constraints of a design problem with sufficient precision to ensure a successful solution, taking into account relevant scientific principles and potential impacts on people and the natural environment that may limit possible solutions

MS-ETS1-4   Develop a model to generate data for iterative testing and modification of a proposed object, tool, or process such that an optimal design can be achieved.